Proposed development's "poor doors" spark debate

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A new development that was recently proposed for Vancouver’s West End has sparked debate over what some are referring to as “poor doors.”

The proposal details a 19-storey high-rise development on 1171 Jervis Street. The mixed-used building will have one commercial level and 19 levels of residential space. The report states 63 units will be designated for the market, while 28 go to social housing. The application is going in line with the West End Community Plan, which has a goal of providing 500 social housing units.

Though the feature that arose controversy in this proposal was the building design of two separate entrances for the residents.

In an interview with CBC, the building’s architect Michael Geller said that without the separate entrances, it would be hard to sell the units designated for the market.

“The people with more expensive units don’t want to mix with the ones in the lower, more affordable units. The real issue is people who are paying more generally feel entitled to access more amenities and lobbies than the social housing units,” Geller said.

Although having two separate entrances for mixed-used buildings like these are nothing new. Vancouver’s own Woodwards building has two separate doors.

Randy Helten of CityHallWatch said that there’s no public information available on how many buildings these are being used in.

“The city itself admitted it does not have numbers to know how common this is,” he said. “In society when you’re separating peoples’ access to housing or to anything including education or health services, based on the ability to pay, it’s something that deserves public attention and public discussion of the values of society and it should not be left to the calculations of the developers profit line.”

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Behdad Mahichi is currently an Editorial Assistant at Vancity Buzz and a journalism student at Ryerson University. He writes about anything from entertainment and politics to his misfortunately extreme caffeine addiction.
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